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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Vice President Laura Tuck Completes Three-Day Visit to Georgia

November 8, 2014

Tbilisi, November 8, 2014 –  Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, has completed her first official visit to Georgia since assuming office in September 2013. During her three-day visit, Ms. Tuck emphasized that the World Bank would continue supporting the country’s market-based reform agenda to promote inclusive growth, improve competitiveness, further enhance business environment, create more jobs, and advance public service delivery.

In the course of her visit, Ms. Tuck met with the Prime Minister, the economic team, and the President of Georgia, held discussions with representatives of the private sector and civil society organizations, academia and youth groups, and development partners.

During the meeting with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Ms. Tuck confirmed the World Bank Group’s commitment to supporting the Government’s development objectives under the Socio-economic Development Strategy 2020 and commended the Government’s focus on supporting the poor and the vulnerable, and investing in the Georgian people.

Increasing access to quality public services is critically important for improving people’s lives,” said Ms. Tuck. “We are pleased to be working with the Government of Georgia on the reform program, which includes improved health services, pre-school education, and targeted social assistance. We believe that these reforms will help reduce poverty, especially in rural areas and remote regions, and will ensure that benefits of growth are shared across various groups of the population.”


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Laura Tuck: "Georgia has several comparative advantages, such as its geographic location, agriculture and tourism potential, and, most of all, its talented people. Developing and using these assets will create further opportunities for growth and make the country’s economy more inclusive."

World Bank

In a meeting with President Margvelashvili, Ms. Tuck discussed the importance of strengthening Georgia’s strategic role as a transit country, improving competitiveness, attracting investment, and tackling unemployment.

“We have strong collaboration with Georgia and value the Government’s commitment to the next generation of structural reforms targeting jobs growth and inclusion,” said Laura Tuck. “We continue working with Georgia to further develop our strong partnership in infrastructure and to assist the country in its efforts to become a logistics hub in the region. Georgia has several comparative advantages, such as its geographic location, agriculture and tourism potential, and, most of all, its talented people. Developing and using these assets will create further opportunities for growth and make the country’s economy more inclusive.”   

In a meeting with private sector representatives, participants exchanged views on the current economic situation, investment climate, reforms under the ambitious Georgia 2020 socio-economic reform strategy, DCFTA and the Association Agreement with EU, and the challenge of finding people with the required skills.  

The opportunities and challenges for job creation in Georgia were also discussed during the meeting with students and faculty at the International School of Economics at the Tbilisi State University.

Civil society organizations shared their views with regard to environmental and social safeguards, capacity building of civil society organizations, including in monitoring and evaluation, transparency and access to data, and greater civic participation in the decision-making process.

Ms. Tuck also went to the Kakheti region, where she met with the local authorities and visited various sites under the Regional Development Project supported by the World Bank. The visit to Kakheti provided an opportunity to see firsthand the transformation of peoples’ lives through infrastructure rehabilitation, support to small and medium businesses, and development of tourism.

She also visited the Agara-Ruisi section of the East-West Highway, the construction of which is financed by the World Bank, and an IDP settlement in Shavshvebi built with the Bank’s support.

During a visit to the Customs Clearance Zone, Ms. Tuck observed the efficiency improvements in the customs processes. It was noted that in the past several years Georgia Customs significantly strengthened governance and successfully implemented anti-corruption measures.

At the Social Service Agency in Tbilisi, Ms. Tuck viewed how the targeted social assistance program operates, including actions to facilitate beneficiary identification and access, and improvements in the social assistance database.

Since Georgia joined the World Bank in 1992, a total of 62 projects comprising approximately US$ 2.27 billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans have been provided to the country. The current portfolio consists of eleven active investment projects and one development policy operation for a total of around US$ 848 million.


Media Contacts
In Tbilisi
Inga Paichandze
Tel : +995 32 2 91 30 96
ipaichadze@worldbank.org
In Washington
Elena Karaban
Tel : +1-202-473-9277
ekaraban@worldbank.org


PRESS RELEASE NO:
2015/181/ECA

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